05/08/2013 03:51 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2013

Bethann Hardison's Crusade For Diversity In Fashion


Honored as she is to receive a Frederick Douglass Award Thursday night, Bethann Hardison is very much centered on what has yet to be done in her crusade for diversity in fashion.

First as a breakout model in the Sixties and later as a modeling agency owner, Hardison has been championing African-American models for the better part of her life. In 2007, when the New York runways looked too Caucasian to ignore, Hardison organized town hall-type discussions, and she is now gearing up for a more multimedia initiative that she declined to spell out. Beyond getting designers, modeling agents, stylists and casting directors to be accountable for their actions, or lack thereof, Hardison wants them to realize how their ad campaigns and runway shows register with the public at large. "Every so often if you shout out and shout them out, something will happen," she said.